How can there be so many Gentiles saved (and martyred) during the tribulation period if, as we believe, the Church is not there, having been raptured at the beginning of the seven years? The answer to that question is based in the nature of the time of Jacob’s trouble.
As Daniel 9:24-27 indicates, the 70th week of Daniel, like the first 69 weeks, is for your (Daniel’s) people and for your holy city. So what it was like during the first 69 weeks in terms of how Gentiles were saved? What was it like throughout Israel’s Old Testament existence with respect to Gentile salvation? Consider:
· Israel was God’s witness to the world (Isa. 43:10).
· Israel’s witness was seen in her righteous lives (acc. to the Law, Deut. 4:7-8), her worship and how God blessed her with a fruitful land and by deliverance from her enemies. Her enemies were nations who had their own gods.
· Gentiles were saved. Remember the stories of Naaman in the days of Elisha (2 Kings 5), Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:34-37) and the city of Nineveh in the time of Jonah (Jonah 3).
So it will be in the tribulation period. Israel will be God’s witness, and to an extent that exceeds OT times.
· We believe that is the purpose of the 144,000 Jews set apart at the beginning of the time and protected by God throughout (Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1-5). We see them as evangelists who go throughout the world, preaching the gospel of the kingdom which Jesus preached (e.g. Matt. 4:23).
· The nations will be drawn to God by the two great witnesses who testify for the last half of the seven years and whose death and resurrection will be seen by all the world (Rev. 11:1-12).
· The nations will see God through His faithfulness in protecting the rest of the nation, after they have been saved (Rev. 12:13-17).
The Church did not coexist with the Nation in the OT. The believing remnant of the Nation is in the Church in the NT. In Daniel’s 70th Week, with the Church removed, it will be like it was in the first 69 weeks. As Paul put it, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Rom. 11:33).